Vocational course guidance ‘simplistic’ says Fareham headteacher

Harriet Lee, 16

St John’s College, Southsea, GCSE art exhibition

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DOWNGRADING the value of vocational courses could turn pupils off them, a headteacher has warned.

Phil Munday, head of Henry Cort Community College in Fareham, spoke out after guidance issued by the Department for Education to make GCSE equivalents count for just one exam.

He disagrees with the new criteria for vocational courses, which will be implemented in 2014.

The DfE wants all vocational exams to count for a single GCSE which it believes will stop schools using them to boost their position in performance tables. Some diplomas count for as much as six GCSEs. But Mr Munday said this measure was too simplistic.

‘A typical GCSE subject will be taught for three hours in a school week, whereas our PE BTEC takes up one-and-a-half days,’ he said.

‘By making them of less value the government will deter students from taking them up.

‘Vocational courses are so important. They may not prepare students for university but they do give them employability skills.’

The DfE wants vocational exams to be graded A* to G and have lots of external assessment.

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